Finland joining NATO would pose a threat to Russia and will not help make the world any more secure, warns Moscow
Moscow has warned that Finland joining NATO would pose a direct threat to Russia's security and its acceptance to the military alliance would prompt Russia to develop measures to ensure its safety. That's after Finnish officials confirmed on Thursday their commitment to join the US-led bloc and announced plans to pen a formal application later this week.
"There is a current instruction from the president to develop a list of measures to strengthen our western flanks in connection with the strengthening of NATO's eastern flanks," said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov during a daily press briefing on Thursday, adding that the expansion of NATO towards Russia's borders will not make the world or the Eurasian continent any more secure.
He added that Russia regrets Finland's decision to join the hostile steps taken by the EU and warned that Helsinki's attempts to join NATO would serve as a reason to develop respective mirror responses.
The statement comes after Finnish leaders announced on Thursday a commitment to seek membership in the US-led military bloc. President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland expressed their view that "as a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance," adding that their country "must apply for NATO membership without delay".
The officials said they plan to pen a formal application for membership on Sunday, after which the letter will be forwarded to Parliament for final approval. It's expected that the application could be finalized and submitted to NATO as early as next Monday.
NATO claims to be a purely defensive organization, but Russia, which shares a 1,340km (833-mile) land border with Finland, perceives the bloc's expansion as a threat to its national security.
Last month, the former Russian president and prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who is currently deputy chairman of the country's Security Council implied that if Finland and Sweden became members of NATO, Russia might be forced to deploy nuclear weapons to the Baltic region in order to preserve "the balance of power."